Get Drunk

(a poem in prose)
You have always to be drunk. That is everything: the only question. If you would not feel the horrid weight of Time, that breaks your shoulders, bending you toward earth, relentlessly you must get drunk.
Well, then; but on what? On wine, or poetry, or virtue, as you will. Only, just get drunk!
And if, someday, you should awake upon a palace stair, or lying in the green grass of a ditch, or in the dreary loneness of your room, and you should find your drunkenness already lessened or quite gone, then ask of the wind, of the wave, of the star, of the lark, of the clock, - of all that flies, or rolls, or moans, or sings, or speaks - "What time is it?" And the wind, the wave, the star, the lark, the clock will answer, "It is time to get drunk! If you would not be the martyred slave of Time, get drunk, and never stop! On wine, or poetry, or virtue, as you will."
a poem by Charles Baudelaire
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5 comments:

  1. Well of course I had to comment on this one...
    One of the things that interests me most about this poem is that he includes the possibility of 'getting drunk' on virtue. Typically, he seems to fall away from virtue into vice...but here he elevates it (or deflates it) to a level of respite. Is he redefining the conventional notion of virtue, or does the fall into vice precipitate a redemption?

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  2. Anonymous10:33 AM

    i think he mentions virtue simply because he feels bad on some level about praising drunkenness. it's his way of appeasing an imagined angry public.
    on another note, could he be talking about love when he refers to virtue?

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